The Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction
has five awards that are given to scholars and students
to recognize particular achievements.


2020-2021 SSSI Awards


George Herbert Mead Award

The George Herbert Mead Award Committee is given annually to recognise a scholar’s contribution to the field of symbolic interactionism. Decisions are made by a committee selected by the President of the Society.

The George Herbert Mead Award is given annually to recognize a scholar’s career contributions to the field of symbolic interactionism. 

Mead award nominations should include a letter of nomination from a current member of SSSI, two letters of support, and a current CV.  Nominators will be advised when the Award Committee has made a recommendation to the President, but the actual name will not be announced until the annual General Meeting and will subsequently be posted online.

Winner of the 2020 Award

Robert Dingwall, Professor, Nottingham Trent University

2021 Selection Committee: 
Chair: Robert Dingwall –
Committee members: Ruth Horiwitz – ruth.horowitz@nyu.ed
Dirk vom Lehn –

Charles Horton Cooley Book Award

The Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction announces its call for nominations for the Charles Horton Cooley Book Award. This award is given annually to an author for a book that represents an important contribution to the perspective of symbolic interaction. To be eligible for the award, a nominated book should have a publication date between the three years preceding publication. Previously nominated works within this three-year publication period remain eligible but must be re-nominated.

Nomination deadline: April 15th.  Books must be received electronically, by May 1st, 2021. Given different international regulations regarding quarantining books sent through the mail, please submit PDF copies of nominations to all committee members.

Winner of the 2020 Award

Anne NassauerSituational Breakdowns: Understanding Protest Violence and Other Surprising Outcomes. Oxford University Press. 

Previous Winners’ List

2021 Selection Committee:
Anne Nassauer –
Committee members: Elijah Anderson –
Sidsel Vive Jensen –

Herbert Blumer Award for Best Graduate Student Paper

Winner of the 2020 Award

Fangheyue Amber Ma for the paper: “’You Are First a Chinese Citizen, Then a Consumer’: Presenting and Balancing Identities Online as Chinese International Tourists”

2021 Selection Committee: 
Chair: Fangheyue (Amber) Ma –
Committee: Baptiste Brossard –
Joe Cleary –

Helena Lopata Mentor Excellence Award

The relationship between a student and a faculty member can have a profound, lifelong influence on both parties. Likewise, established and accomplished teacher-scholars can serve equally influential and encouraging roles for junior colleagues and provide crucial support for early and midcareer transitions. In sum, the mentoring relationship inspires, gives confidence, and culminates in valuable collegial relationships. The effective mentor serves as advisor, teacher, advocate, and role model. The SSSI Helena Lopata Mentor Excellence Award recognizes these important contributions to our society and craft.  Nominees must be members of SSSI to be eligible for this award. We seek nominees who show evidence of:

  • a sustained career as a beneficial role model;
  • a sustained record of mentoring students and junior colleagues in acquiring the skills and resources necessary for career success;
  • promoting successful and timely completion of students’ degree programs;
  • supporting attendance and participation at conferences;
  • imparting informed advice relating to career opportunities and choices;
  • establishing opportunities for networking and professional connections;
  • motivating students and junior colleagues about research and teaching activities;
  • helping students and junior colleagues develop a range of talents including skills in research, teaching, professional presentations, writing, preparation of grant and fellowship applications, etc.;
  • integrating students and junior colleagues into the broader culture of the SSSI.

All nominations should include (a) a letter of nomination and, (b) multiple letters of support, ideally from people with different mentoring relations with the candidate, that testify to a sustained career of outstanding mentorship.

Winner of the 2020 Award

J. Patrick Williams, Associate Professor of Sociology
Nanyang Technological University in Singapore

2021 Selection Committee: 
Chair: J. Patrick Williams –
Committee members: Matthew Hughey –
Trinh Luu –


The Kathy Charmaz Early-In-Career Award

The SSSI Early-In-Career Award Committee recognizes junior scholars’ contribution to the field of symbolic interaction and potential. The award specifically honors those scholars who have made significant contributions within the first ten years since the completion of their PhDs. Nominations are made through support letters sent (by SSSI members) to the chair of the award committee. Support letters should include the following information: the candidate’s most noteworthy research and publications thus far; contributions to symbolic interaction; and the candidate’s CV.

This year, we are honored to rename the Early-in-Career award in memory of our dear colleague, Professor Kathy Charmaz (1939-2020), whose scholarship and generous mentorship of young scholars will have a lasting impact on the field of symbolic interaction.

Winner of the 2020 Award

J.E. Sumerau, Associate Professor of Sociology, The University of Tampa 

2021 Selection Committee: 
Chair: J. Sumerau –
Committee members: Katie Cooper –
Lain AB Mathers –


Patricia Hill Collins Award for Intersectional Scholarship in Symbolic Interaction

We are very pleased to announce the inaugural year of The Patricia Hill Collins Award for Intersectional Scholarship in Symbolic Interaction. This award is given annually for an outstanding published work (article or book) that uses a symbolic interactionist lens to further intersectional analyses and/or address issues of equity, representation, or social justice. To be eligible for the award, the nominated publication should have a publication date in the three years prior to the date of the award (e.g. works published from 2018-20 are eligible to be nominated for the 2021 award).

2021 Selection Committee: 
Chair: Stacey Hannem –
Committee member: Kylan Mattias de Vries –
Watoii Rabii –

Calls for Nominations for the 2021 Awards
(Deadline for all awards: April 15th, 2021)

SSSI Annual Meetings Distinguished Lecturers